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Best 1-1.5TB drive for storage in HTPC
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Author:  alexb [ Mon Mar 28, 2011 3:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Best 1-1.5TB drive for storage in HTPC

My build HTPC has a 80GB OCZ Vertex for OS drive and now looking for a 2nd drive for storage.

As it's HTPC, I want it to run quiet and cool, BUT, I want decent performance. What's bhe best drive for that purpose?

I was thinking WD Black, but I am afraid if it's gonna be loud. I got an older WD500AAKS ( think it's called Blue now), and its performance and specially noise (idle and seek) are really great... how's WD Black compared to WD Blue? or any other drives for that matter?

The review of WD Black 1TB is really bad noise-wise, but 2TB is better... when I look at part# of 1TB it hasn't changed since the review so does it mean that a current 1TB is gonna be noisy while 2 TB is not?!

Thanks

Author:  alexb [ Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Best 1-1.5TB drive for storage in HTPC

No takers? :)

Author:  m0002a [ Sat Apr 09, 2011 9:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Best 1-1.5TB drive for storage in HTPC

WD Green drive should be plenty fast enough for HTPC applications (and most other applications also). There are many people on this forum who have used it for this configuration. The Green driver should be sufficiently quiet for you needs.

Author:  kuzzia [ Sat Apr 09, 2011 2:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Best 1-1.5TB drive for storage in HTPC

A WD500AAKS. By that, do you mean this drive:

http://www.silentpcreview.com/article617-page2.html

In which case, there are both much quieter drives AND better performing.

And why do you need the good performance when you already have a SSD as a system drive_?

Author:  alexb [ Sat Apr 09, 2011 4:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Best 1-1.5TB drive for storage in HTPC

kuzzia wrote:
A WD500AAKS. By that, do you mean this drive:

http://www.silentpcreview.com/article617-page2.html

In which case, there are both much quieter drives AND better performing.

And why do you need the good performance when you already have a SSD as a system drive_?


Yes, that drive... its fantastic! I just need a larger size...

Well, I just HATE slow drives, like my videos and music to load quickly and to be able to for instance jump from one part of video to next seemlessly!

Author:  kuzzia [ Sun Apr 10, 2011 3:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Best 1-1.5TB drive for storage in HTPC

well, if you're ok with the acoustics of that drive, then you're in a good luck:

The 1 TB blue version (WD10EALS):
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1163-page5.html

Also the 640 GB blue version (WD6400AAKS) (320GB/platter):
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article29-page2.html

Even the new 2-TB BLACK version is as quiet as your old drive:
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1079-page5.html

I'm happy to say that you have many options, my friend.

Author:  kuzzia [ Sun Apr 10, 2011 3:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Best 1-1.5TB drive for storage in HTPC

oh, and about your introductory questions.. These drives are, of course, upgrades/new versions of you're drive. Therefore, they are of course faster. Performance shouldn't be an issue with the forementioned drives.

Author:  jhhoffma [ Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Best 1-1.5TB drive for storage in HTPC

If it's just a secondary drive for media storage, definitely go with a Green. If for no other reason than they are usually 20% cheaper and for secondary storage, you won't notice ANY difference. If a 5400rpm drive can't load your media quick enough, then you need different media...

I have a 500GB Blue as my WHS primary drive (soon to be a Black 1TB for my WHS2011 build) with 5 Green drives of various sizes. I stream 1080p video all day long and my file transfers to the Greens regularly exceed 60MB/s. The only problems I ever have are when one PC is backing up and I'm streaming HD or the Drive Extender service starts flipping out. Faster drives would not help in either scenario...

The only benefit with a Black is a 5-year warranty, but if absolute reliability is that critical to you, then REx drives are the only acceptable solution.

Author:  alexb [ Sun Apr 10, 2011 7:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Best 1-1.5TB drive for storage in HTPC

kuzzia wrote:
well, if you're ok with the acoustics of that drive, then you're in a good luck:

The 1 TB blue version (WD10EALS):
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1163-page5.html

Also the 640 GB blue version (WD6400AAKS) (320GB/platter):
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article29-page2.html

Even the new 2-TB BLACK version is as quiet as your old drive:
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1079-page5.html

I'm happy to say that you have many options, my friend.


Cool, thanks.. for some reason the 1 TB BLACK drive has reviewed much worse (acoustically) than 2TB... any reason for that? have they changed anything specific?

Blue *performance* is good enuf for me as 2nd drive. Is there a much noticable acoustic difference between Black and Blue? I can't find out how Black is faster, apart from having extra cash, is its firmware designed to like work to perform better?

Author:  alexb [ Sun Apr 10, 2011 7:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Best 1-1.5TB drive for storage in HTPC

jhhoffma wrote:
If it's just a secondary drive for media storage, definitely go with a Green. If for no other reason than they are usually 20% cheaper and for secondary storage, you won't notice ANY difference. If a 5400rpm drive can't load your media quick enough, then you need different media...

I have a 500GB Blue as my WHS primary drive (soon to be a Black 1TB for my WHS2011 build) with 5 Green drives of various sizes. I stream 1080p video all day long and my file transfers to the Greens regularly exceed 60MB/s. The only problems I ever have are when one PC is backing up and I'm streaming HD or the Drive Extender service starts flipping out. Faster drives would not help in either scenario...

The only benefit with a Black is a 5-year warranty, but if absolute reliability is that critical to you, then REx drives are the only acceptable solution.


Thanks for advise. Green looks like a good match, however, for some reason on Tomshardware forum ppl have complained that Green drives are actually LESS reliable and have advised against it... any feedback there?

Also, how does the Green performance compare to Blue?

Author:  kuzzia [ Mon Apr 11, 2011 9:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Best 1-1.5TB drive for storage in HTPC

alexb wrote:
Thanks for advise. Green looks like a good match, however, for some reason on Tomshardware forum ppl have complained that Green drives are actually LESS reliable and have advised against it... any feedback there?

That's a topic that has been raised several times, also here on SPCR. I do not know if the "myth" is correct or not. I can say, however, that it has the same warranty as a Blue, and that my WD green 500 GB still functions well, and I've probably messed around with it trying to suspend the drive.

alexb wrote:
Also, how does the Green performance compare to Blue?

In general: worse. But newer drives tends to be faster than old drives (new technology, platter density), so my guess would be that a new green drive would not be far off your Blue 500 GB, performance-wise. Benchmarks or other people will give you the answer on this one.

alexb wrote:
for some reason the 1 TB BLACK drive has reviewed much worse (acoustically) than 2TB... any reason for that? have they changed anything specific?

As performance increases from one generation to another, the acoustics increase too. The 1 TB black is from end 2008/start 2009 (using 333GB/platter) whild the new 2 TB is from october 2010 (using 500 GB/platter). New generation = better acoustics (usually).

With your demands, and your acoustic requirements, a 1 TB blue would probably suffice. Or maybe a Samsung F3 1 TB, which has been widely praised:
http://techreport.com/articles.x/19330

The Blue is apparently quiet enough for you and the performance is definitely good enough. After all, they are meant as system drives.
Looking solely at your needs, however, I'd say a WD green would suffice. You could save a few bucks, it's much more quiet, and the performance is meant for your needs. The Blacks should be out of your question, since the price premium isn't worth the extra 2 years of warranty. Just think how much harddrives can improve in 2 years. The acoustics are not that great neither.

Author:  jhhoffma [ Mon Apr 11, 2011 6:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Best 1-1.5TB drive for storage in HTPC

alexb wrote:
Thanks for advise. Green looks like a good match, however, for some reason on Tomshardware forum ppl have complained that Green drives are actually LESS reliable and have advised against it... any feedback there?

Also, how does the Green performance compare to Blue?

The reason the Green's can be interpreted as less reliable is threefold: 1) they have the same failure rate as any other drive, but more Green drives are sold now compared to the others. 2) The head-parking ("Green") features of the drive have been known to cause high cycle counts with certain SATA controllers. This caused a huge misconception of premature drive failure, since WD rates their MTBF for drives were partly rated by that cycle count number. 3) The Green drives are usually the highest capacity drives WD makes. Which when the 2TB limit with the pre-Vista was hit, alignment problems ensued, and the drives were not prepared properly before usage. It was a software problem, not a hardware problem.

Myself, I have 5 Green drives (two of which are 4 years old) in my WHS (on 24/7) and have never had a single issue with either. I just ordered two more (along with a single Black) and don't expect to have any issues with those either.

Green drives only spin at 5400rpms, while Blue and Black spin at 7200rpms. The Black is a little faster than the Blue, since the Blue employs some acoustic and power management features, that slow the drive down slightly. The Black does not employ these options and is faster, hotter, and more power-hungry as a result. Mind you, most people won't notice much of a difference between the two, but it's there, along with the extended warranty.

Author:  alexb [ Wed Apr 13, 2011 10:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Best 1-1.5TB drive for storage in HTPC

So, if I can get Blue and Green virtually at the same cost, which would be best... and is there ANY difference between difference sizes as well as SATA2 and SATA3 drive in terms of acoutstics?

Author:  jhhoffma [ Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Best 1-1.5TB drive for storage in HTPC

Blue is faster, Green is quieter...depends on what you want.

Sizes will be a range of multiple platters. You won't see much performance change between them. The only concern would be compatibility with the advanced format drives. You need to align the partitions on drives larger than 1TB for WinXP/MCE/2003 and earlier. If you are running Vista or later, you're fine.

SATA2/3 is simply a change in signaling rates, no change in acoustics based on it. Though potentially there might be a difference between two similar models, due to improvements made alongside the switch to SATA3. I wouldn't worry about it, though.

For a secondary storage device, get the biggest Green drive you can afford.

Author:  alexb [ Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Best 1-1.5TB drive for storage in HTPC

Most like GREEN, but let me explain my usage, as that may change things...

This is gonna be my MAIN PC in my apartment, will be placed in my home theatre enclosure, along with HDBox, Bluray, receiver, connected to a 50" Plasma, and will be used to play my iTunes music, Netflix, downloaded videos, Youtube, etc... along with doing audio/video editing duties (transfer from DVD to DivX, transfering CD to FLAC/mp3), and also to play games with (Half Life, Battlefield, etc...).

It's an Athlon X4 3.0GHz system with 4gb of RAM, on Win7 Home Premiun. I'd be using a 60gb SSD for boot drive, and like to get 1-1.5TB drive for storage (afraid of going larger as backup drive is only 1TB).

I also intend to make it my file server, so would be connecting it via Gigabit ethernet to my network, so for instance my laptop can also access files on it, and also to sync my laptop iTunes with the virtual drive so I can sync my iPods on both PC and Laptop.

Typical Use:
- PC is downloading something
- I am also watching a Movie, or Playing music and/or I am using my laptop accessing iTunes library on PC

However, I can see a scenario like this:
- PC converting video from MPEG2-to-MPEG4
- PC is downloading a large MKV file
- PC is playing a video
- Laptop is syncing with PC via network

So, as you can see it's a dual/triple purpose HTPC. While SSD would be perfectly fine for boot drive and making programs run fast, I *think* my storage drive should also be a bit faster than GREEN drives to manage the workload, WHILE being one of the quieter/cooler drives to work in a HTPC environment.

Now, based on this update, would a WD Green still be ok? or I have to move up to 7200 RPM drives... Any other suggestion is appreciated!

Author:  mkk [ Thu Apr 21, 2011 1:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Best 1-1.5TB drive for storage in HTPC

Yes a green drive will still be ideal. As long as the operating itself runs on another drive like in your plan, a 5400 RPM green drive of the latest models can handle quite a bit of work.

Author:  HFat [ Fri Apr 22, 2011 7:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Best 1-1.5TB drive for storage in HTPC

OS drives are overrated.
7200 rpm drives are also somewhat overrated.

If you want to do several things at once: get several hard drives or use an SSD for cache or simply for the data you're working on.

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